Today is my birthday, and I thought the best way to celebrate it is to share, to give.
So, today, I would like to talk about time, our beliefs about time, and how we can change those beliefs.
Time as we know it is indefinite, and it is also precious because, for the human existence on earth, it is limited. This duality accompanies us throughout our lives.
We know time is precious, but we tend to act as if it was indefinite. We plan to make the best out of life, and when it comes to working on it, we let ourselves be swayed by the moment. And, no argument there, some moments have the right to influence us.
I am thinking about the moments we spend with our family and friends. The time we spend hugging each other or listening to a friend who is going through a heartbreak. I am thinking about the moments when we choose to be happy and content. The moments when we recognise, we have just made the right choice; even if we don’t know why we made that particular decision. We perhaps made it because it felt right. Other times, we planned and consciously chose between options.
And we are also aware that time is passing by the minute. We measure it, look at our watches or phones every day, fill our calendars with events and meetings. At times, we become slaves of time.
We believe that:
- high performers wake up early and work until late, so we don’t sleep enough and shorten our lives.
- being busy or filling up our calendars is there to show how hard we work, so we stress out on not having time for ourselves.
- there is always another opportunity to make someone else happy or to ask for forgiveness, just until we recognise it is too late.
- we know that every minute counts and yet we may not speak up when our opinion would encourage others to find a solution.
- we still have enough time to finish a piece of work, and we leave it to the last minute, just to put extra pressure on ourselves and rush the work at the end.
- being overwhelmed is sometimes a given and forget that it is a choice.
Belief is accepting the existence of something based on previous learning and experience. Changing how we spend time and how much we get out of a day or a month is also a choice.
Even though changing a belief does not happen overnight and there will be occasions when you may slip and get back to the old habits, it is possible to turn a switch and change how you think about the time you spend on this planet.
And why would you think about your life, if you believe you have a time management problem? A time management problem can be managed by changing daily habits.
Well, some time management problems are linked to how valuable we think our time is. You can change a daily habit, and then you recognise that after a few weeks, you need to start it all over again because you slipped.
Today is my birthday, so I was thinking about the last 12 months and how I spent it. I am sure you are familiar with the feeling when you recognise the year is almost over. You hardly forgot last Christmas or the new year’s party, and you already see the invitation in your calendar for this year’s event. What happened to the time between last Christmas and today?
I developed this tradition of evaluating my year about a decade ago. I spend about 30 minutes on my birthday to assess whether or not I lived life to the fullest, whether I made others happy, whether I helped others. Most people do such an evaluation toward the end of the year. To me, it is essential that I link this evaluation to my birthday because it gives me a chance to see whether I honour my life by living it to others’ benefit.
As I am assessing my year, I think about those times when I missed to live up to my purpose. Collect reasons why I didn’t do that and look for patterns.
Did I procrastinate at times? Of course, everyone does it. Do I find any patterns, are there particular life situations when I procrastinate? If so, what were the conditions? Is there a fear lurking in the background that I haven’t managed yet? Is there a limiting belief?
You can change your limiting beliefs, once you let them come to the surface, once you bring them forward. A belief is based on what you learned and experienced before. It is your interpretation of a past event applied to your present. Because it is your interpretation, it is up to you how you think about it. Therefore, you can change it.
It is up to you how you think about a particular situation in the future.
- Do you withdraw from providing suggestions if you feel your colleagues criticised your view more than once? What are you afraid of?
- Do you not dare apply for a new role because you haven’t been selected for other positions in the past few months? Did you spend time to learn how you can be more successful next time?
- Do you not call your brother or sister this time, because most of the time you initiate the peace treaty? What do you have to do differently this time?
Whatever choices you make will impact your time in this life. Your time is more valuable than you think. Spend it gracefully.
And if you celebrate your birthday today, I wish you a Happy Birthday and a year with joy, success and happiness.